I grew up in American suburbia. My parents divorced, my mom got remarried, and my older twin sisters and I moved to a nice house in a nice subdivision with nice neighbors. We had a dog and my new dad had two cats. I hate cats. We went to public school most of the year and went to the public pool in the summer. For extra money, I mowed people’s lawns; and, my step dad charged me for the gas. The postcard picture of the American Dream, I guess some might call it.
As far as my social scene, I was definitely not one of the popular kids. I wasn’t really even popular enough to be considered friends with too many of the unpopular kids. I was the new kid. A misfit. The kid from the South. I had the wrong haircut. The wrong clothes. The wrong interests. Yes, I even talked funny.
Not that I was a complete outcast. I was passionate about music and joined the school band. That’s when I met Dom. He played tuba. I played drums. We didn’t have much in common other than music. It was enough. Still, Dom liked to get high and spent most of the rest of his days scheming on how to get high. As for myself, the whole drug thing just wasn’t that appealing. My dad, my real dad, being an alcoholic and all. I liked to keep it simple, to go to the movies, read a book, or do a little wood working in the garage. Besides, I never thought working with power tools while wasted was really a healthy choice. Dom would have loved the rush.
I don’t think Dom had a good home life. Not that I ever asked him, but one summer he just started coming over more frequently to my place. We’d do stuff together like go catch a movie, go to the club pool, or play catch. Sometimes I’d just listen to Dom talk about his plans to be a rock star, injecting the occasional “yeah” to his monologue.
The fall was when it started. A new family had moved in and had a daughter in my grade. Penny. I noticed her on the first day of school, in fact. I was very intrigued by this new girl who wore the same “farmer clothes” that I had worn, those that got me mocked. They made her stand out to me. In a good way.
Later, I chanced to hear her talking with some other girls, and recognized my own twanging accent. At band, I happened to mention her to Dom and asked him if he knew anybody that knew her. You know, the standard grapevine thing. I told him that I liked the way she smiled. That tomboy look.
A couple weeks later, I got off the bus and was walking along the sidewalk to class past the area where the couples did their whole PDA show thing, when I whipped my head around and did a double-take. Dom was standing there. He was making out with Penny.
Copyright © 2014 Eric A. Schweitz